LONDON, ONT. -- The economic impact of the pandemic has made accepting a pay raise unpalatable for politicians at City Hall.

City council’s Corporate Services Committee voted 6-0 to recommend turning down an annual scheduled increase to their compensation. A final decision will be made by council next week.

A motion by Deputy Mayor Jesse Helmer proposes a pay freeze in 2020 for councillors, the mayor, or citizen appointees.

“Let’s just keep it the same as last year,” explained Helmer to the committee. “I don’t think this is the year to even be taking inflationary increases. Anything we can do to contain costs is something we have to look at.”

The policy for elected officials and citizen appointees would automatically increase compensation by about 2.1 per cent this year.

The increase is calculated based on the previous year’s change to either the Consumer Price Index or Labour Index, whichever is lower.

Mayor Ed Holder supported the pay freeze for 2020, citing the economic impacts caused by the pandemic both at city hall and in the economy.

“I think it is an important commitment and an equally important symbol to our community.”

Helmer’s motion was co-signed by Councillor Maureen Cassidy and Councillor Arielle Kayabaga.

On Dec. 1, 2018 city councillors’ compensation jumped from about $36,000 per year to $51,181 per year.

That amount rose again on Jan. 1, 2019 with an annual increase of $2.3 per cent ($1,177).

If the 2020 pay freeze is approved, compensation for councillors would remain at $52,358 per year. The mayor’s compensation would remain at $141,200 per year.